Updated | PN funds to run out by end of January

The Nationalist Party is selling more of its clubs – including the Zejtun and Naxxar clubs – in a bid to boost finances, which will otherwise not last beyond the end of January • PN denies its finances are in a dire state • Ann Fenech reacts

The PN club in Fleur-de-Lys is being sold as the party sets up a club in Santa Venera • The club in Naxxar is earmarked for imminent sale
The PN club in Fleur-de-Lys is being sold as the party sets up a club in Santa Venera • The club in Naxxar is earmarked for imminent sale

The Nationalist Party’s sale of some its clubs is being embraced by the new administration since the party’s finances – as they stand today – will not last the party until the end of January, MaltaToday has learned.

Following the last electoral defeat, outgoing PN leader Simon Busuttil had claimed that his administration was leaving the party a good solid financial base, that could see it through for the following 18 months.

But informed sources have confirmed that the party’s finances will not last beyond the third week of January, and that was before taking into consideration the new directorships that Adrian Delia’s team intends to introduce.

The appointment last week of Pierre Portelli as executive chairman of Media.link, the party’s media subsidiary, was one such position – and salary – that had not figured in the dire estimates.

The same sources confirmed that the PN will be proceeding with the sale of its clubs in Hal Ghaxaq and Fleur-de-Lys, as revealed by KullHadd on Sunday.

But MaltaToday has now learned that more property is to be sold off, with the next clubs to come up for sale being those in Zejtun and Naxxar.

With regards to the Fleur-de-Lys club, the party will, in fact, be selling it imminently but will be setting up a new club in another property it owns in High Road, Santa Venera.

Most of the sale contracts were finalised by outgoing president of the party’s executive committee, Ann Fenech, who signed agreements for the sale of a number of party clubs before the last election, leaving the current administration no option but to sell the property.

When contacted, a spokesman for Delia said that the party would not discuss internal commercial decisions in public. 

“PN Leader Adrian Delia has never made such promise and has publicly stated that the party will honor commercial decisions taken by the previous administration of the party,” he said.

But MaltaToday is now informed that Delia and his team are strongly considering selling more clubs in a bid to establish a stronger financial footing.

The new team is currently also working hard to prepare for the party’s end-of-year fund-raising marathon, with the administration insisting they be the first to hold such a marathon this festive season, so as to persuade people to donate more. The PN’s marathon is planned for 10 December.

The party is also pushing its sectional committees and local branches to organise more fund-raising activities and to be more involved in the collection of membership renewal fees and other payments.

PN denies Naxxar clubhouse is up for sale

The Nationalist Party has denied its finances are in a precarious state, insisting it is untrue funds will run out by the end of January. It said reports on the party's finances formed part of the Labour Party's spin to destabilise the Opposition as it passed through a restructuring process.

The PN denied its clubhouse in Naxxar was up for sale, adding the current party administration was honouring the restructuring plan started in the previous years that sought to commercialise a restricted number of properties held by the party.

"The party finances are under control and the Labour Party will not manage to shut the Opposition up by destabilising its resources. The PN's assets outweigh the financial obligations," the PN insisted.

Ann Fenech reacts

Meanwhile, in a reaction to the report, outgoing PN executive president Ann Fenech said that from December 2014 through to September 2017, she had assisted, together with others, former leader Simon Busuttil with the financial restructuring of the party. This, she added, succeeded in ensuring that the PN returned to a solid financial footing by ensuring that salaries were paid, relationships with major creditors regularised and drawing up a long term restructuring plan.

"It is no news at all that part of that financial restructuring plan involved the outright sale of some  property owned by the party over a number of years as well as the maximisation of other property owned by the party. Naxxar for instance  is not up for sale and is an example of how the party is investing in some of its properties to ensure full commercialisation through rental of properties still owned by the party," she explained.

Fenech denied that she ever signed contracts for the sale of any clubs or signed any promise of sale agreements.

"I never even spoke to any of the potential buyers or even knew who the potential buyers were other than know their name and that they were interested in the properties," Fenech said.

She insisted all properties were professionally valued and a "professional protocol for the sale of the relevant clubs was followed to a T".

Fenech said she was recommending the incoming administration stick to the financial restructuring plan and improve upon it.